Securing Land Rights of Communities especially Communal Lands

Many perspectives have been shared; Having title deeds, registering and having some form of certification or document/s.

These are perfect and in someway they have addressed conflicts, improved tenure security, facilitated more organized and land use systems. facts are replete examples and one success story is the Tanzania CCRO.

But, I have a perspective that while these are happening, many spaces have been opened for others and the land use patterns have thus changed in many fronts. I see that even though the tenure is secure under the new developments, communities have become more susceptible to legal land grabs. The large scale investments have changed the look of communal land and therefore what we see as secure tenure is a change of tenure regime which is now more private than communal.



Thanks, @KenOtieno! Glad to see your post about an important topic. I moved it into the #land category so the relevant people will see it.

Can you tell us some more about your experience here or give an example showing why this is the case? It will be interesting for people not familiar with Tanzania to learn more about the CCRO and what works and what is challenging. I did an internet search and found an interesting blog post about it:

According to the article, Ujamaa Community Resource Team (UCRT), has been working on just this issue. UCRT is represented in the network by @KondeiMakko who attended the community land protection learning exchange in Kenya last fall.

In the post, Kondei’s colleague Edward Loure is featured in a youtube video about pastoralism and conflict in Tanzania which is well worth watching:

@clp_partners @namati_clp @exchange_2016kenya

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I agree with @tobiaseigen, it would be great to hear more about your observations @KenOtieno. Personally, I do not know much about the CCRO in Tanzania and would be interested to hear more about how it is working in practice. What you say here is particularly interesting to me:

What is making the communities more susceptible? Is it because the CCROs enable communities to lease or sell land, and therefore there are more investment projects moving into community lands? What do you mean by a “legal land grab”?

I look forward to hearing more!


We just concluded the training of some community based paralegals on Economic Injustice. One of the topics covered is on land ownership. During this session, one of the paralegals shared a story about his community. Their community has existed since 1967 and it was granted to them at that time. After this time, Nigeria a new law was made which gave government the ownership of all lands. Meaning all people occupying should have Certificate of Occupancy issued by the state.
Nobody from this community has any legal document as regards to their land/ property. We have never been involved in such cases although we have mapped out some steps to be taken by the paralegal and his community.

  1. Meet with the community members and educate them first
  2. Set a committee of volunteers to do house mapping and Numbering
  3. Write to the traditional institution which originally granted the land and get written confirmation.
  4. Write to the LGA and secure letters of Grant
  5. Use the letters of grant to get C of O. These are what we have proposed. There are several organisation that have many years of experience in this field. Let us learn from you @tobiaseigen @michaelotto

Thanks for your post, @fatimaadamu. I would first direct you to our online resource guide for community land protection, which is a segmented version of the Community Land Protection Facilitator’s Manual with other supplemental resources for practitioners such as yourself. Both resources have a vast amount of resources and guidance on various aspects of community land protection that may be useful.

We also have many network members working in the area of community land protection that may have additional information or input for you - @davidarach @jaronvogelsang @rachaelknight, @danielsesay, do you have any suggestions or other members in Nigeria specifically?


Hi Fatima,

Interesting to read about what you are doing. I totally agree with the steps you have mapped out for the paralegals to undertake. My only questions is, does the community seek to own the land communally or on an individual basis? If they seek to own communally, they also need to think about some sort of governance system. They need to work together to agree on a set of rules and a structure to govern them.

Setting up an inclusive, transparent and democratic local governance system isn’t that easy and it also takes time. Nevertheless, you are in the right forum - as Namati, that’s what we have been doing for years now. Please refer to the links Michael directed you too and don’t hesitate to reach out on any further questions.



Dear Fatima,

This is an interesting process and indeed important in securing the collective and individual land rights in diverse communities.

There are a couple of cases that might also help you in this reflection including the case of the Barbaig in Tanzania a few cases of group ranches in Kenya and the Borana community also in Kenya.

I just finished facilitated learning experience for a team of IFAD funded programme for Nigeria on Value Chain Development and they visited these communities there were CSO involved. I copy Jaoji in this for further engagement.

Ken Otieno


The socio-cultural context of where these communities are living is the main factor which influence the decision on whether to adopt a communal resource management or Individual basis. From the constitutional foundation, Tanzania is a sociality state and it’s basis of socialism is rural socialism (early from Villagelisation campaign in 1970’s). The majority of agro-pastoral and pastoral households in Tanzania are living in rural areas. The only option to enhance the livelihood of these people is to link the nodes from state laws to community awareness.

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Thanks for joining the conversation, @Kumbata. We are glad you have joined us.

It’s interesting to think about Tanzania’s socialist history in the context of communal vs private land ownership. You are the first to mention it. How do you think it relates?

Does it make Tanzanians more or less likely to take up communal land ownership as laid out in the community land protection process promoted by Namati?

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Dear @tobiaseigen , community lands protection process which is being promoted by NAMATI not only relates to Tanzania’s village socialism ideology but also could be a catalysit for improving the livelihoods of many sons and daughters of the polity.

The National Policies provides a room for decentralized (communal resources management) by the primary beneficiaries themselves. However on the other hand, commercial pressure on land from both agricultural commercialization and conservation for tourisim as well as sites for Industrial development have been reducing the acreage of these lands.

Given there are impacts of climate change, even the carrying capacity of these lands is diminishing a day by day.

The real issue is not that the goverment have been taking no action, nope! It is not like there has never been a system of collective planing and management of these resources,Nope!. Rather the understanding and implementation of the concept of “sustainable communal resources management”. I believe that, if the problem could be solved at a larger context,the result will be permanent and for all

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